Shootings in Alabama and Kentucky over the weekend latest in wave of mass violence

The four victims of a mass shooting at a birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama, over the weekend were identified by the Tallapoosa County coroner on Monday morning. Dadeville is a town of 3,000 around 45 miles northeast of Montgomery.

Two teens embrace at a prayer vigil on Sunday, April 16, 2023, outside First Baptist Church in Dadeville, Ala. [AP Photo/Jeff Amy]

The county official said that 23-year-old Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 19-year-old Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 18-year-old Philstavious Dowdell and 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole Smith were killed at a Sweet 16 birthday party around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The two youngest victims of the shooting were students at Dadeville High School and 18-year-old Dowdell was a star football player and the brother of the teen who was celebrating her birthday.

Police reported at a news conference on Sunday that at least 28 others were injured in the shooting at a dance hall in downtown Dadeville. State officials said there was a “wide variety of injuries that were sustained,” including 15 teenagers that were taken to the hospital in Dadeville and neighboring Alexander City.

Hospital officials reported to CNN that at least five of those shot remained in critical condition while others had been treated and released.

As of Monday, the number of injured in the Dadeville shooting had been increased to 32 and authorities reported that the shooter had not been apprehended.

Meanwhile, two people were killed and four others were injured in a park in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday at around 9 p.m.

Louisville police reported that the shooting took place at Chickasaw Park as hundreds of people gathered for a warm spring evening.

Authorities said the two deceased were pronounced dead at the scene. One of the injured is in critical condition following emergency surgery and the gunman remains at large.

The park shooting follows by less than a week the massacre of five bank co-workers on the morning of April 10 at Old National Bank in Louisville by 23-year-old Connor Sturgeon before the shooter was killed by police.

Democratic Party Vice President Kamala Harris responded to the events in Alabama with a tweet on Monday that referred to “another senseless mass shooting,” declared, “enough is enough,” and called for “commonsense gun safety laws.”

In Louisville, Democratic Party Mayor Craig Greenburg called the events on Saturday part of “an unspeakable week of tragedy for our city.” Greenburg continued, “Let’s band together, let’s help each other. Let’s make this the city we want it to be.”

The pleading and hand-wringing over gun laws by the Democrats does not begin to scratch the surface of the deep-going crisis within American society that is behind the nearly continuous and escalating series of mass shootings in the richest country in the world.

According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) there were ten mass shootings over the weekend in the US in Missouri, Arizona, New Jersey (two), Hawaii, Alabama, Kentucky, California, Georgia and Mississippi that resulted in 10 deaths and 60 injuries.

The GVA defines a mass shooting as a shooting incident in which four or more people are injured, not including the shooter. By this measure, there have been 164 mass shootings in 2023 and, in 2022, there were a total of 647 of these shootings in the US. Since 2020, the number of mass shootings in the country have been taking place at a rate of nearly two per day.

The GVA data shows there have been 12,387 gun violence deaths of all causes so far this year. This number is on pace to significantly exceed the total of 20,200 in 2022. The largest segment of these deaths (57 percent) this year are suicides.

While there are a very large number of firearms in the US—a 2017 study showed that there are 1.2 guns per person in the US, the highest rate in the world by a factor of two—there is a direct correlation between gun violence and the extreme economic inequality in American capitalist society.

Numerous studies have pointed to the root causes of gun violence in poverty along with underfunded public housing, social services and schools. In 2019, the US homicide rate from firearms was more than eight times the rate in Canada, more than 50 times the rate in Germany, and more than 100 times the rate in the United Kingdom.

Along with the destruction of basic services and income inequality is the increase in state violence by the US government abroad in the form of imperialist wars and police repression at home overseen by Democrats and Republicans alike.